Effect of Asipirin on Lowering Cancer Mortality
A new and extensive observational study reveals more evidence that daily use of aspirin is linked to lower cancer mortality. However, the same study suggest that the reduction of cancer mortality is in fact smaller than previously stated. The study appeared online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The authors of the paper say that even though their study provides more evidence to the fact that a daily dose of aspirin can reduce cancer mortality, the size of the potential benefit is still under questioning.
A recent analysis of the results taken from several randomized trials that studied the effects of daily aspirin doses on the prevention of vascular events revealed that there was an approximate 37 percent reduction of cancer mortality in patients that were using aspirin for five or more years. However, results are uncertain due to the fact that the study groups only had a small number of patients. Furthermore, two recent randomized clinical trials in which patients took aspirin once every other day showed that the intake of aspirin had no effect on cancer mortality.
The research team behind the study, led by Eric Jacobs, has analyzed data gathered from more than 100,000 patients that participated in a national Cancer Prevention Study. All of the patients reported using aspirin before the start of the study and none of them had cancer. All of the patients that participated in the study were followed up for almost 11 years. The results of the study showed a decrease in the overall risk of cancer mortality by approximately 16 percent. These results were observed in patients that were taking aspirin daily for at least five years, but also in patients who were taking aspirin for a shorter period of time. The study showed that there was a considerably lower mortality for cancers of the gastrointestinal tract (almost 40 percent decrease) whilst only a 12 percent decrease was shown in the mortality of cancers that were outside of the gastrointestinal tract.
However, the cancer mortality reduction that was observed in the current study is remarkably lower than the percentage reported in the previous studies. Nevertheless, the authors of the current paper mention that their study isn’t randomized and thus the results might either overestimate or underestimate the potential effect of aspirin on cancer mortality. Furthermore, the large size of the study brings a positive note on the credibility of the results.
“Expert committees that develop clinical guidelines will consider the totality of evidence about aspirin’s risks and benefits when guidelines for aspirin use are next updated”, said Dr Jacobs. He also added that even if some recent studies show evidence that aspirin reduces cancer mortality, giving aspirin to patients is still not recommended. Previous studies have shown that even a low-dose of aspirin can greatly increase the risk of a serious gastrointestinal bleeding. He concludes that an assessment of the risks and benefits of aspirin should be made for each individual patient.